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'Brothers & Sisters': Ryan's hope

February 16, 2009 |  8:04 am

After months of anticipation, "Brothers & Sisters" finally introduced us to Ryan Lafferty, the latest contestant in "Who wants to be William Walker's long-lost illegitimate child?" His existence was revealed in last season's finale after a DNA test eliminated Rebecca from the game and prompted both gasps and eye rolls from devoted fans.

Some were shocked that after a season and a half of developing Rebecca as a potential Walker sibling, the show would pull the rug from under them and then pair her romantically with a character she thought was her half-brother. Others were frustrated at having to endure yet another illegitimate child story -- couldn't the writers come up with something else? Needless to say, expectations run high with this Ryan character, who enters the scene as an emo Berkeley student.

Ryan_3 After Ryan's initial phone call, Nora naturally takes matters into her own hands and pays him a surprise visit. "You're pretty spontaneous," he says when she ambushes him at his after-school job. With his floppy hair, sleepy eyes and soft spoken drawl, Ryan resembles Johnny Depp (as I mentioned in last week's recap) and seems to be completely different from the other Walkers. He's shy and thoughtful, yet has the potential to be more complex (read: troubled), a combo that may make him more difficult to decipher than Rebecca. He decides not to return to L.A. with Nora, so we may have to wait an episode or two for this story to flesh out.

Another story building anticipation is Tommy's impending exit. When Rebecca skips town, Holly does some snooping in her office, where she finds contracts that lead her to question Ojai's acquisition of Crawford Orchard. She consults a lawyer, who tells her that the orchard is owned by a holding company incorporated by Tommy Walker, and she realizes he's trying to push her out. Let the battle for Ojai begin! There's no question that Tommy will be on the losing end, but I wouldn't count the Walker family out completely. He's not the only one trained to run that ship.

Last night was also the precursor for March 1's two-hour episode, which is preparing us for a birth (Kitty's adopted child) and a life-threatening medical crisis (Robert? Trish, the baby's birth mom? Both?). I'm pretty sure Robert's not going to die, but the emergency will lead to more complications in his and Kitty's marriage.

Time to share your thoughts. What do you think of Ryan Lafferty?

-- Enid Portuguez

(Photo courtesy ABC)